- Associated Press - Friday, June 30, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Newly released statistics show that the crime rate in Minnesota has dropped to its lowest level in 50 years.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released a report Thursday that shows homicides, robberies and other violent crimes occur about half as often now as they did through the late 1980s and 1990s, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/2s9xjUn ) reported.

Almost 131,000 incidents of violent crimes and property crimes were reported in 2016. That crime rate of almost 2,400 per every 100,000 residents is the lowest the state has seen since 1966.

The state’s most populous counties have seen a declining crime rate for years. Hennepin County’s crime rate has dropped about 17 percent since 2009, while Ramsey County has seen a nearly 30 percent drop in that same period.

More recently, the report shows a roughly 4 percent decline in crime statewide between 2015 and 2016. The number of homicides statewide dropped from 130 in 2015 to 100 in 2016, about a 23 percent decline.

Violent crime, rape and major assaults increased by less than 1 percent between 2015 and 2016.

The agency collects data about instances of homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, arson and two categories of human trafficking.

The state began collecting data on sex trafficking in 2014. The report found an increase in those reports, with 235 reports of sex trafficking in 2016, up from 119 reports in 2015.

The increase reflects better cooperation between law enforcement agencies and a philosophical shift by police to treat women and girls who are being trafficked as victims rather than criminals, said St. Paul police Cmdr. Ken Sass, who heads the department’s narcotics and human trafficking units.

“So you’re seeing more efficient and better investigations, which is really important, and especially with the Super Bowl coming,” Sass said.

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Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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